When you and your children join our YMCA family, we understand that you place your trust in us as a provider of child care, day camp, aquatics, and youth sports. Because we do not take your confidence lightly, we strive to meet that trust by effectively screening and training all staff and volunteers. Our quality youth development programs enrich the lives of thousands of children each year, and the protection of every child is our top priority.
We participate in many active efforts to prevent child abuse, including conducting references and criminal background checks for staff and volunteers, requiring ALL staff to participate in child abuse prevention training, and staying vigilant for events out of the ordinary by conducting formal and informal interviews and evaluations with children and parents. Finally, we take allegations or suspicions of child abuse seriously by reporting to the police and state agencies for investigation.
The YMCA enforces a zero tolerance philosophy for abuse. To make sure your child remains safe outside of Y supervision, we encourage you to follow our “Know. See. Respond.” protocol:
Know. Stay informed about warning signs and unusual behavior and talk to your child about them. Recommended steps include:
- Explaining to your child that he/she has a basic right to privacy and that no one should touch them in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable or compel them to touch someone else inappropriately.
- Talking to your child about the importance of telling you if someone does or says something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Emphasize that adults should not ask them to keep secrets from you.
- Do not leave your child at a YMCA facility, school site or playing field without YMCA staff members/volunteers present supervise your child.
- Do not let YMCA employees or volunteers babysit, host sleepovers or spend time one-on-one with your child outside of YMCA programs.
See. Pay close attention to your children and the people in their lives, watching for signs of abuse.
- Watch for signs of potential abuse from adults, such as spending too much time with a child, choosing favorites or possessiveness.
- Be concerned if your child suddenly becomes withdrawn or balks at attending certain activities or being around a particular person. Seek to gently find out why.
- Stay in touch with your child’s day-to-day experiences. Ask questions like:
- Is anyone scaring or threatening you?
- Is anyone asking you to keep secrets?
- Has anyone said anything to you that made you feel bad?
- Is anyone touching you in a way that you don’t like?
Respond. Report any inappropriate or suspicious actions by YMCA staff or volunteers (or expressions of discomfort from your child) to the Executive Director of your local YMCA branch.
Thank you for your help in protecting children.
-Tony Collins, Chief Executive Officer